How to get a post-study work visa and work in the Netherlands after studying

Three students in a shared study space

By choosing to study in the Netherlands, you are putting your career first. Dutch universities are known for their excellent links to the large multi-national companies based here. With such strong ties to successful businesses, it’s not surprising so many international students stay in the Netherlands after they complete their studies.

As a graduate of a Dutch university, you have plenty of options that allow you to continue living and working here.

In the Netherlands, the most common post-study work visa for international students is called the “Orientation Year residence permit”.

You can start your journey to studying, living, and working in the Netherlands with a foundation programme designed especially for international students at Holland International Study Centre.

Benefits of a post-study work visa

If you successfully acquire the Orientation Year residence permit, you can expect two main benefits:

  • You and a partner or spouse can live and work without restriction in the Netherlands for a year after your graduation.
  • You are increasingly likely to eligible for the highly skilled migrant residence permit, making you more appealing to potential employers.

Am I eligible for the post-study work visa?

To be eligible for the Orientation Year residence permit, you need to have completed an accredited bachelors or masters degree, or a PhD, at a Dutch university in the last three years. For full details and an extended criteria list, visit the Dutch government website.

Amsterdam's business district.

How long does the post-study work visa last?

The Orientation Year residence permit, the most common post-study work visa in the Netherlands, lasts for one year. This is how international students often stay in the Netherlands after graduation. If you find work and wish to stay in the Netherlands for longer than a year, you can apply to change your residence permit.

For example, you could apply for a residence permit for highly skilled migrants, or a resident permit as an employee, depending on the job you have.

International students are those that aren't members of the European Union. For students that are from European Union member countries, there are different rules.

Can I work in the Netherlands after graduation?

Once you have graduated, you must apply for the correct residence permit. You will, most likely, want to apply for the Orientation Year residence permit. After your visa application has been accepted, you can then start work.

With the Orientation Year residence permit, you have unlimited access to the labour market in the Netherlands. This means you can take on any kind of work, paid or unpaid, without a work permit. 

Why stay in the Netherlands after graduating?

Alongside the great work opportunities available to graduates, there are plenty of other reasons you should choose to stay in the Netherlands.

The people of the Netherlands

The open-minded, diverse culture is one key reason. The Netherlands is famed for its welcoming people, the majority of which will speak English alongside Dutch.

Plenty to explore

The Netherlands also have lots of historical and cultural sites to see, so you will have plenty to do during your downtime. The Netherlands is a great place to live if you want to travel around Europe too, with great travel links taking you to the UK and continental Europe.

Discover more about life in Holland here.

Post-study work support with Holland International Study Centre

The Netherlands is a fantastic place to start post-study work. With high wages, and a famously open-minded culture, it’s clear why so many students want to base their career here. That’s why, at the Holland International Study Centre, we support you in making great choices to help your career development.

During your programme with us, you will study a dedicated university and career skills module so you can progress through your academic journey with confidence. You will also meet dedicated, like-minded students from around the world, so you can make a network of friends and potential future colleagues.

Our university partners also have a career-centric approach to teaching. Wherever you decide to complete your undergraduate degree, you’ll be prepared for a successful career.

Enquire and start your Holland International Study Centre journey with our easy-to-use form. Alternatively, read more about studying in Europe in our blog.